By now, most of us are familiar with Google Adwords and its massive hold on PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising.  But did you know that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn also have their own PPC programs?  Broadening your ability to target your social media ads to specific audiences can be easily achieved if you’re armed with the right knowledge and a good game plan.

 Social Media Management

Tailored ads on social media platforms are a relatively inexpensive, low-risk way to drive new and repeat visitors to your site.  But before deciding on which social media route to go, it’s worth asking yourself – who am I going after? Targeting the right demographic will be crucial to the success of your PPC campaign.

According to the Pew Research Center, here’s a brief breakdown of who’s using social media:

  • Age: Around 83% of 18-29 year olds use social media, followed by 30 to 49 year olds (73%).
  • Education: Social media usage spans across all education levels, with 65% of users holding a college degree or higher.
  • Gender: Approximately 71% of all women engage in social media, compared to 62% of men.
  • Location: People living in urban areas are slightly more engaged (70%) than people in suburban areas (67%).

Glancing at these numbers, there is huge potential to reach a wide audience through PPC on social media platforms.

Your Options:

The most extensively used and the most popular (not unexpected since it is the most well-known social network) is Facebook.  A great option if you’re looking to reach a significant audience across multiple demographics, or a smaller, more segmented audience. Pay for impressions (CPM) or for clicks (CPC) and set a minimum budget as low as one dollar per day.  Facebook is a good choice for advertisers who want a large reach on a small budget, a more specialized reach on a large budget, or anywhere in between. Plus, Facebook’s extensive help center leverages you with the tools you need to successfully create and manage your ads.

Slightly more expensive than Facebook, Twitter offers both sponsored tweets and sponsored hashtags for advertisers.  But don’t let the price tag deter you – Twitter’s concise format and fast-paced model is perfect for campaigns that promote a limited time offer or hot, new product.  Quickly build buzz via Twitter with strategically placed sponsored content.  Similarly to Facebook, Twitter’s help center answers most questions about the strategy that will be best for you.

If you hadn’t thought of it before, you should consider LinkedIn as a place to target business professionals and/or specific industries.  LinkedIn is perfect if you offer B2B or employment services or products.  With a minimum daily budget of about $10, this is an affordable option with the ability to reach an audience that may not be actively engaged on more of the mainstream social channels.

Test and compare each platform to determine which network works well for you.  This may result in advertising across multiple channels, or sticking to just one.  Run campaigns simultaneously or consecutively across each platform (tweaking content and budget as you see fit), and see which one performs the best.  Take the knowledge you learn and develop a plan, optimizing future campaigns so that they perform even better.